Peace Arch Entertainment // 2009 // 85 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 9th, 2009
Home is where the heart is...and where people have to like your cable movie no matter how bad it is.
A Christmas Proposal is a holiday-themed Lifetime film where two lawyers fight over the destiny of a small town, and find out they are still sweet on each other after all these years. It's one of those saccharin flavored stories that makes you groan with all the romantic comedy overload it provides. Nothing says "Happy Holidays!" quite like Tom Arnold and a Patrick Dempsey look alike floating through a sea of cable movie clichés.
A real estate tycoon (Tom Arnold, Roseanne) is having trouble getting access to a small mountain town he wants to build over, so he sends down his overly aggressive lawyer (David O'Donnell, Dirty Love) to fight the battle. Legal eagle Rick comes from the quaint rural area, and it turns out the opposing legal counsel for the town is his old high school sweetheart (Nicole Eggert, Baywatch). Rick quickly finds out that coming home is rougher than he thought, especially when he's trying to change everything. Oh yeah, and he also has his bitchy future wife (Sarah Thompson, Angel) with him who happens to be the daughter of the real estate developer. What are the chances he is going to have a change of heart about developing his hometown and go back to his old flame before Christmas?
A Christmas Proposal is your typical Lifetime movie with a holiday motif spiking the usual melodrama. You've got a guy with the wrong girl, a business deal that makes no sense, and a couple of fading television stars making goo goo eyes at each other. Nicole Eggert and David O'Donnell are cute together, but is anyone clamoring to see a retired Baywatch babe court a guy who kinda looks like Patrick Dempsey? Tom Arnold only makes a cameo in the proceedings, and he's not very funny in his short amount of screen time. Making a very random appearance is Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed) who plays Rick's sweet mom. All the not so notable actors are just fine, it's the predictable script and miniscule budget that keeps things from working. Nothing ever takes off or feels genuine, and we know where it's all heading from the opening scene. Basically, if you want a Christmas Lifetime movie, here you go.
The DVD presentation is bare bones, containing only the movie with a questionable transfer. Things look grainy and muddled without the clarity you would think a recent project would have. This could be from the '90s or '80s as far as video quality goes. Sound doesn't impress either, with a poor mix that results in dialogue being hard to hear. So everything looks like it was shot for '70s television, and sounds like it is coming out of a tin speaker. There are absolutely no extras at all.
I suppose this one would be good to watch while making Christmas cookies or fixing a holiday meal. You don't have to pay much attention to anything, and it just drifts by without much surprise.
It's a predictable melodrama that was shown on cable, and that's all A Christmas Proposal has to offer. You know you're in trouble, when you're happy to see Tom Arnold show up for a scene, even when you know he won't be funny. You somehow feel his appearance is that of an old friend who just might save you from all this bad cable romance. There is no such luck though! The DVD is just passable with a poor transfer and no extras, but that might be a nice gift considering I wouldn't want to spend more time with this fruitcake of a film.
God awful and guilty of making me want to skip Christmas and hang out with
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Peace Arch Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG